Franklin v. State – Franklin was found guilty of kidnapping and aggravated assault (with his fists and a bottle) of a woman who mistakenly agreed to accompany him home from a Jackson pool hall. He was was sentenced to thirty years and twenty years to be served consecutively. He raises several issues. The Court reverses based on the trial court’s failure to grant Franklin a lesser included instruction on simple assault. The case is remanded for a new trial on that one charge.
Pierce v. Pierce – Martin and Star were married in Mississippi but divorced in Washington State. Since Washington did not have personal jurisdiction over Martin, the divorce decree did not settle any financial issues. Martin later filed an action in Mississippi seeking to sell the Biloxi marital home and determine their financial responsibilities. Star counterclaimed for alimony and attorneys fees which the Court awarded and from which Martin appealed arguing that alimony was res judicata because of the Washington action and that since he never consented to juridiction of the Mississippi Court, the court could not award Federal Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act. Not surprisingly, the Court found that that Washington decision was not res judicata since it did not have personal jurisdiction over Martin. Furthermore MArtin consented to the juridiction of the court in Mississippi when he filed the peitition there.
Anderson v. Lavere – this is another decision in a long running battle over the Robert Johnson estate. This one concerns two photographs of Johnson that Anderson, Johnson’s sister, claims belonged to her and claims were illegally used by Johnson’s publisher LeVere. The trial court dismissed the case on statute of limitations grounds among others. The Mississippi S.Ct. affirms.
Tard v. State – Tard was charged with the 2007 armed robbery of the Drury Inn in Ridgeland. The clerk identified Tard from a photographic lineup and when the police picked him up, they recorded a two hour interview with Tard. Tard moved to suppress the statement on the grounds that it was not voluntary, that he lacked the mental capacity to waive his rights knowingly and intelligently. The officer who interrogated Tard testified that he made several misrepresentations to Tard during the interrogation to get him to confess (a practice that has always been legal). The trial court refused to suppress the confession but his ruling never made it clear whether he viewed the entire two-hour videotape. On appeal, the Miss. Ct. of Appeals affirmed finding that Tard never attempted to introduce the two hour videotape and, thus, the issue was procedurally barred. The Miss.S.Ct. reverses holding that the burden is on the state to prove voluntariness beyond a reasonable doubt based on the totality of the circumstances. Since it cannot be known whether the trial court considered the totality of the circumstances (by viewing the entire tape), the case is reversed and remanded for a new trial.
The Mississippi Bar v. Derivaux – The Bar recommended a two year suspension for Derivaux for forging title documents and conducting title work when he did not have authority to do so. The Miss. S. Ct. affirms.
Entergy Mississippi v. State of Mississippi – this is an appeal of a grand jury subpoena issued by Madison County to Entergy seeking the names and billing addresses of all Entergy customers in a two zip code area. This was done in ann effort to allow the Madison County Tax Assessor to locate possible homestead exemption fraud. Entergy moved to quash the subpoena. The Circuit Court denied the motion to quash and Entergy appealed. The Miss. S. Ct. affirms holding that 1) the subpoena was not an abuse of the grand jury powers; 2) that the tax assessor’s involvement did not impermissably taint the grand jury; 3) that the subpoena does not violate the due process and privacy rights of Entergy customers and 4) the subpoena was not an arbitrary fishing expedition.